For Educators: Immigration Syllabus

“The 2016 presidential election brought a great deal of attention to immigration and immigrants in American society. Much of this debate perpetuated harmful stereotypes, dangerously stoked fears about outsiders, and echoed a nativist rhetoric that many believed had disappeared from public discourse. The debate also ignored how current discussions are deeply rooted in century-long conversations about who is allowed into the country and what it means to be an American. Indeed, anti-immigrant rhetoric and immigrant surveillance, detention, and deportation have been a defining feature of American politics and state and federal policy since the 19th century.”

“This syllabus seeks to provide historical context to current debates over immigration reform, integration, and citizenship. Many Americans have a romanticized idea of the nation’s immigrant past. In fact, America’s immigration history is more contested, more nuanced, and more complicated than many assume. Then, like now, many politicians, public commentators, critics, and media organizations have greatly influenced  Americans’ understanding of immigration and the role that immigrants play in U.S. society.”

A result of the collective efforts of immigration historians, you would do well to explore this timely and necessary resource from the Immigration History Resource Center at the University of Minnesota in partnership with the Immigration and Ethnic History Society.

With material that can be explored over the course of 11 weeks, the Immigration Syllabus provides answers to these questions and more, as outlined in the press release:

“Who has come to the United States and why?

Why has immigration been such a hotly debated topic then – and now?

When and why did the U.S. start building walls and banning and deporting immigrants?

What were the consequences of those policies?

What’s “new” about new immigration to the United States?

What lessons might we learn as we move forward?”


From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins-Jones

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I'm a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

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